The Los Angeles Times is reporting that grizzly bears could roam free once again in the state of California if a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity is approved. The petition requests that 110,000 square miles be set aside for grizzlies in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
Grizzly bears were hunted to the brink of extinction in the continental U.S. and listed as endangered in 1975. Today, they can be mostly found residing in the northern Rocky Mountain states of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been considering removing the grizzly from the Endangered Species List in the Yellowstone area, given that an estimated 700 grizzlies now share 3,400 square miles.
Sadly, the California grizzly (Ursus arctos californicus) will not be returning since that subspecies of grizzly has been hunted to extinction.
If the California reintroduction plan is implemented, 300 to 400 bears would take up residence in the southern Sierras across an area of 6,000 and 8,000 square miles. Critics of the plan say there just isn’t enough space in the densely-populated state.
Read more: LA Times